Hospitality is the relationship between guest and host, or the act or practice of being hospitable. Specifically, this includes the reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers, resorts, membership clubs, conventions, attractions, special events, and other services for travelers and tourists. The word hospitality derives from the Latin hospes, which is formed from hostis, which originally meant “to have power. ” In the West today hospitality is rarely a matter of protection and survival, and is more associated with etiquette and entertainment.
However, it still involves showing respect for one’s guests, providing for their needs, and treating them as equals. Cultures and subcultures vary in the extent to which one is expected to show hospitality to strangers, as opposed to personal friends or members of one’s in-group. The hospitality service industry includes hotels, casinos, and resorts, which offer comfort and guidance to strangers, whether it be commercial (for monetary gain) or non-commercial (not for profit).
The terms hospital, hospice, and hostel also derive from “hospitality,” and these institutions preserve more of the connotation of personal care. Hospitality ethics is a discipline that studies this usage of hospitality. The Pakhtun people of South-Central Asia, pre-dominant in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan and Afghanistan have a strong code of hospitality. They are a people characterized by their use of Pakhtunwali, an ancient set of ethics, the first principle of which is Milmastiya or Hospitality.
The general area of Pakhtunistan is also nicknamed The Land of Hospitality. To the ancient Greeks, hospitality was a divine right. The host was expected to make sure the needs of his guests were seen to. The ancient Greek term xenia, or theoxenia when a god was involved, expressed this ritualized guest-friendship relation. In Greek society a person’s ability to abide the laws to hospitality determined nobility and social standing. Celtic societies also valued the concept of hospitality, especially in terms of protection.
A host who granted a person’s request for refuge was expected not only to provide food and shelter to his/her guest, but to make sure they did not come to harm while under their care.  In India, hospitality is based on the principle Atithi Devo Bhava, meaning “the guest is God. ” This principle is shown in a number of stories where a guest is literally a god who rewards the provider of hospitality. From this stems the Indian approach of graciousness towards guests at home, and in all social situations.
Hospitality as a cultural norm or value is an established sociological phenomenon that people study and write papers about (see references, and Hospitality ethics). Some regions have become stereotyped as exhibiting a particular style of hospitality. Hospitality management is the academic study of the hospitality industry. A degree in Hospitality management is often conferred from either a university college dedicated to the studies of hospitality management or a business school with a department in hospitality management studies.
Degrees in hospitality management may also be referred to as hotel management, hotel and tourism management, or hotel administration. Degrees conferred in this academic field include Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Business Administration, Bachelor of Science, Master of Science, Master of Business Administration, and Doctor of Philosophy. Hospitality management studies provides a focus on management of hospitality operations including hotels, restaurants, cruise ships, amusement parks, destination marketing organizations, convention centers, country clubs, and related industries.
The hospitality industry consists of land category of fields within the service industry that includes lodging, restaurants, event planning, theme parks, transportation, cruise line, and additional fields within the tourism industry. The hospitality industry is a several billion dollar industry that mostly depends on the availability of leisure time and disposable income. A hospitality unit such as a restaurant, hotel, or even an amusement park consists of multiple groups such as facility maintenance, direct operations (servers, housekeepers, porters, kitchen workers, bartenders, etc. , management, marketing, and human resources. The hospitality industry covers a wide range of organizations offering food service and accommodation.
The industry is divided into sectors according to the skill-sets required for the work involved. Sectors include accommodation, food and beverage, meeting and events, gaming, entertainment and recreation, tourism services, and visitor information. Usage rate or its inverse “vacancy rate” is an important variable for the hospitality industry. Just as a factory owner ould wish a productive asset to be in use as much as possible (as opposed to having to pay fixed costs while the factory isn’t producing), so do restaurants, hotels, and theme parks seek to maximize the number of customers they “process” in all sectors. This led to formation of services with the aim to increase usage rate provided by hotel consolidators. Information about required or offered products are brokered on business networks used by vendors as well as purchasers. In viewing various industries, “barriers to entry” by newcomers and competitive advantages between current players are very important.
Among other things, hospitality industry players find advantage in old classics (location), initial and ongoing investment support (reflected in the material upkeep of facilities and the luxuries located therein), and particular themes adopted by the marketing arm of the organization in question (for example at theme restaurants). Very important is also the characteristics of the personnel working in direct contact with the customers. The authenticity, professionalism, and actual concern for the happiness and well-being of the customers that is communicated by successful organizations is a clear competitive advantage.